|Publication number||US20070155495 A1|
|Application number||US 11/482,664|
|Publication date||Jul 5, 2007|
|Filing date||Jul 5, 2006|
|Priority date||Dec 19, 2005|
|Publication number||11482664, 482664, US 2007/0155495 A1, US 2007/155495 A1, US 20070155495 A1, US 20070155495A1, US 2007155495 A1, US 2007155495A1, US-A1-20070155495, US-A1-2007155495, US2007/0155495A1, US2007/155495A1, US20070155495 A1, US20070155495A1, US2007155495 A1, US2007155495A1|
|Original Assignee||Goo Paul E|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (14), Classifications (21)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present application is a continuation application of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/752,290, filed Dec. 19, 2005, for SURF SIMULATOR PLATFORM FOR VIDEO OR MECHANICAL GAMES, by PAUL E. GOO, included by reference herein and for which benefit of the priority date is hereby claimed.
The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 2,978,243 April, 1961 Gabrielson 472/135., issued Apr. 13, 2006, included by reference herein.
The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 4,159,826 July, 1979 Hancock 482/26., issued Aug. 19, 1977, included by reference herein.
The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 4,516,768 May., 1985 Gallaro 482/26, issued Sep. 27, 1982, included by reference herein.
The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 4,534,124 August, 1985 Schnell 482/51, issued Sep. 12, 1983, included by reference herein.
The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 4,749,180 June, 1988 Boomer 482/51., issued Jun. 4, 1987, included by reference herein.
The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 4,850,588 July, 1989 Desjardins et al. 482/51., issued May 13, 1988, included by reference herein.
The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,048,823 September, 1991 Bean 482/146., issued Aug. 27, 1990, included by reference herein.
The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,062,629, issued Nov. 1, 1991, by Vaughan, included by reference herein.
The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,112,045, issued May 1, 1992, by Mason et al., included by reference herein.
The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,279,528, issued Jan. 1, 1994, by Dalebout et. al, included by reference herein.
The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,439,562, issued Jul. 1, 1995, by Milner, included by reference herein.
The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,509,871, issued Apr. 1, 1996, by Giovanni, included by reference herein.
The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,769,725, issued Jun. 1, 1998, by Ogden et al., included by reference herein.
The present application is related to U.S. Pat. No. 5,851,166, issued Dec. 1, 1998, by Bernardson, included by reference herein.
The present invention relates to a surfing and, more particularly, to a surfing surfboard video game in which a surfing figure on a monitor moves over simulated waves to gain playing rewards is controlled by a foot-actuated surfboard application of U.S. provisional patent application, U.S. Pat. No. 5,851,166, filed Dec. 1, 1998, by Bernardson, included by reference herein and for which benefit of the priority date is hereby claimed.
Field of the Invention:
The present invention relates to a surfing and, more particularly, to a surfing surfboard video game in which a surfing figure on a monitor moves over simulated waves to gain playing rewards is controlled by a foot-actuated surfboard simulator. The simulator has a horizontally mounted elongated genuine surfboard having a suspension system consisting of a central semi-compressible, non-rigid, fulcrum member adapted to support the board to permit tilting in all directions, and a biasing foam system mounted annularly to the semi rigid fulcrum which tends to maintain the board in a horizontal position and to dampen tilting movement of the board. An attitude sensor and switch module is mounted on the controller and consists of a gravity-actuated closure member, such as a pendulum or ball bearing, having a common electrical contact and positioned to engage one or more of a plurality of equally spaced electrical contacts located around the periphery of the closure member.
This invention relates to a video game including a foot-actuated control unit which may have the shape of a surfboard. In addition, a portion of the invention relates to an attitude sensing device which determines the tilt angle of the platform, and opens and closes a plurality of electrical contacts enabling a signal input to a computer control unit.
Video game control units, commonly called “joysticks”, are well known in the prior art for producing output signals corresponding to the attitude of the joystick, which may be moved along an x-y path to control the movement of a display element on the video terminal. Generally, the control units are adapted to provide signals corresponding to radial movements around a circumference in 45.degree. increments; i.e., from any different location on the screen, the movable figure can move in any of eight different directions depending upon the attitude of the joystick. Generally speaking, joysticks are hand-operated and involve a control element which is movable against a deformable member which permits the element to make contact with one or more switches, thereby permitting completion of a circuit which controls the attitude of the control element. Sometimes the control unit pushes against a series of microswitches installed in the unit causing electrical contact to be made in the manner of pushbutton switch. Frequently, the switches are formed as an array of circuit segments on a printed circuit board. Foot-operated control units are known, and one embodiment of such a unit is found in Lee, U.S. Pat. No. 4,488,017. This patent discloses a foot-operated unit resembling a bathroom scale in which movement of the operator's feet serves to tilt the platform to close certain circuit segments on a printed circuit board in the same manner as a hand-operated controller. Another example of a typical hand-operated video controller is disclosed in Guenther, U.S. Pat. No. 4,461,935.
Other relevant foot-operated amusement devices include a surfing simulator disclosed in Pifer, U.S. Pat. No. 3,863,915; this patent shows a surfboard mounted above a base and suspended by fore and aft mounted pairs of coil springs. An exercising device consisting of a balance board supported by an inverted dome, with a plurality of ground-supported damping members made from foam rubber used to resist tilting of the platform, is disclosed in Francke, U.S. Pat. No. 4,491,318.
Document: U.S. Pat. No. 5,062,629
Abstract: A surfing simulator which uses, in combination, a ball bearing turntable, an adjustable spring plate assembly and a flexible mounting pad to connect a riding deck to a stationary supporting base. In operation, the surfing simulator is mounted by stepping onto the riding deck near its center. As the user's feet are moved apart into the surfing stance, the user's weight can be shifted and rotational forces applied to create and sustain a complex rhythmic motion combining spin, tilt and rocking, which, when properly executed, enables the user to closely simulate and practice the movements, stances and reactions required to perform the sport of surfing.
Kinesthetic Diagnostic and Rehabilitation Device
Document: U.S. Pat. No. 5,112,045
Abstract: A kinesthetic diagnostic and rehabilitation device enables the user to measure the extent of kinesthetic impairment resulting from a bodily injury, particularly an injury to the lower limbs, and also enables the user to rehabilitate the injury. The device is provided with a rigid platform resting atop an unstable support. The ability of the patient to maintain a fixed position on the platform as a function of the instability of the support enables quantification of the patient's kinesthetic impairment. The device further provides rehabilitative exercise.
Variable Speed Balance or Teeter Board
Document: U.S. Pat. No. 4,491,318
Abstract: A variable speed balance or teeter board including a platform, a fulcrum extending downwardly from the bottom of the platform into engagement with a supporting surface. The fulcrum comprising a variety of selectively used members of different shape and height for varying the angularity of the platform tilting action, and damping means comprising a plurality of members of different compressibility selectively or collectively interposed between the platform and the supporting surface for varying the speed of the tilting action of the platform upon application of unevenly distributed weight to the top of the platform, the particular damping member employed being dependent upon the ability of the individual using the balance board.
Mechanical Surfboard Simulator
Document: U.S. Pat. No. 5,509,871
Abstract: A surfboard simulator device for training users in the sport of surfing, the device including a stable base platform and an elevated surfboard unit that is interconnected to the base platform by a spring assembly that provides limited articulation to the surfboard unit to allow fore and aft pitch and side-to-side roll with a bias providing greater side-to-side roll than fore and aft pitch.
Surfing Simulator and Method Using Inflatable Bladders
Document: U.S. Pat. No. 6,168,551
Abstract: This invention uses a plurality of inflatable bladders to support a surfboard or other balancing platform or sport board. The bladders are inflated with a gas or liquid, and as such, provide a fluid medium on which to seat a surfboard. This type of support system provides a sensation similar to that of water. This type of support system also allows for adjustments in the stability of the balancing platform. When used with a surfboard, snowboard, or other delicate standing platform, this type of support system evenly distributes the user's weight-load across a large area of the surfboard, snowboard, or other delicate platform so that it is not damaged.
Here are a list of the shortcomings of other surf simulator patents and solutions:
1) some are mechanical in nature that require motors, hydraulics, electrical motors to move the surfboard.
a) these styles are subject to mechanical failure and are heavy
b) these mechanical styles are intimidating to younger and older people due to the perceived danger
c) set up and disassembly requires a large surrounding safety inflatable mat to prevent severe injuries if one falls off the surf mechanical simulator.
2) some simulators use large inflatable bladders beneath the surfboard to simulate to weightless feeling of water
a) these bladders are large and are susceptible to punctures and deflation
3) some simulators are platforms mounted on several springs. Springs are flexible in nature but do not offer the true feeling of water in that
the “spring motion” elasticity is much much bouncy
a) secondly, when using springs or bladders, the ease and ability to change parts and repair onsite, if used as a ride, is much more time consuming and difficult.
4) some simulators include the use ball bearings and rotating plates and mounted via screws and other fastening devices.
a) the construction of these type of simulators use far more parts and are prone to more parts failure and and breaking down.
5) other surf simulators require hydraulic fluids and torsion rods which are all subject to forces that can stimulate breakdown that require costly repairs and disassembly.
6) all aforementioned surf simulators do not attempt to use computer assisted graphics or connections to a computer that
would give audio or visual feedback from the surfboard simulator or platforms.
7) none of the aforementioned surf simulators actually use a genuine, Hawaiian made surfboard made of materials that
are used in surfboard manufacturing.
8) the surf simulators or exercise platforms are not compact enough to be placed under a surfboard hidden and out of view.
The hardware and parts required to simulate surfing are mechanically too large to be placed under a surfboard shaped platform.
9) All the above mentioned patents, the fulcrum point is usually either a fixed, non-compressible: universal joint, rigid dome shaped member, springs with a central core of bladders or air shock absorbers. None feature a cylindrical fulcrum point that is made of compressible material that is semi-rigid in nature such as hard rubber, expanded polypropylene foam, etc. The flexible fulcrum that absorbs and dampens the initial weight forces when a person stands upon a platform supported by this semi-rigid fulcrum transfers any additional weight to the less rigid material such as foam rubber, springs and the likes surrounding the compressible fulcrum
It is therefore an object of the invention to help people experience the feeling of surfing on a real surfboard on dry land.
It is another object of the invention to allow people to play computer games while exercising.
It is another object of the invention to learn better balance skills for other sports
It is another object of the invention in which the system is lightweight and totally portable and easy to set up.
In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a surf simulator and/or balance trainer that allows a person to stand on a real surfboard, safely, less than five inches off the ground and learn how to surf by developing better balance skills. The person balances on the surfboard while the movements made by the surfboard are translated into signals by sensors on the board that a computer game depends upon. A surf game or computer graphic is displayed on the screen and responds accordingly to the movements made by the person on the surfboard through means of a cable from the surfboard connecting the sensors to the computer.
The genuine surfboard sits upon a compressible foam base which is shaped like the surfboard but scaled smaller in size than the surfboard. It cannot be seen from the top and is only noticeable from the side and bottom. It is important to note that the compressible foam base beneath the surfboard contains a central pillar/central fulcrum point that is semi-rigid foam that is much more dense than the surrounding foam that helps to maintain the board in a level position and supports the board during tilting movements. In essence, the central semi-compressible fulcrum pillar supports the majority of the weight placed on the surfboard keeping it always above the ground. The center core or pillar also contains the sensors that sends signals to the computer via a cable. The softer foam surrounding the semi rigid pillar allows the surfboard to tilt in all directions. The semi-rigid high density foam pillar is also used to create an initial “shock absorber” or cushion effect when the rider initially steps upon the board and also serves as a means to create more of a fluid movement in comparison to a pillar that is solid. The size and shape of this pillar is also essential to the “feeling” of the surf simulator.
A complete understanding of the present invention may be obtained by reference to the accompanying drawings, when considered in conjunction with the subsequent, detailed description, in which:
For purposes of clarity and brevity, like elements and components will bear the same designations and numbering throughout the Figures.
Referring first to
The surfboard 1 simulator is electrically connected to a computer, which is in turn connected to a video monitor by the electrical wire cord 8. Through software controlled by the computer, a miniature surfing figure moves along the screen along x-y coordinates corresponding to the movement of the surfing simulator actuated by the user.
The surfing simulator or game controller is mounted on a base comprising an semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3 made of compressible hardened rubber, dense EPP foam. Surfboard 1 is mounted on the semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3 surrounded by cushion foam rubber 9 which permits the surfboard 1 to roll in all directions with equal ease. The semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3 can be semi or somewhat compressible and weight-supportive, and is preferably cylindrical with a circular horizontal cross-section. A cushion foam surfboard 1 shape shaped biasing suspension member is mounted surrounding the semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3. As shown in
As shown in
The velcro strip connector 4 fastening means disclosed herein are commercially available hook-and-loop type interengaging fasteners; however, any similar adhesive-type fastening means may be used to connect the various components of the invention.
The semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3 is also connected to the underside of the mounting board by means of a pair of velcro strip connector 4. on the bottom of the surfboard 1. Corresponding strips (not shown) attach the cushion foam rubber 9 to the parallel strip 22 on the bottom of the surfboard 1
An attitude sensor module enclosure 10 and numerous ball switch 5 series is located within the upper portion of the inside of the semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3 as shown in
A preferred embodiment of the sensor is shown in
As shown in
Of course, the sensor module enclosure 10 is not limited to being two contacts, but may have 6, 8, or more, thus providing a visually more continuous movement rather than being limited to the more familiar and conventional 3 or more degree. movements.
As is apparent from the specific examples in
The control switch may be connected to any computer adapted to receive signals from a joystick controller; the signals received by the computer are the same as the signals from any other joystick. Obviously, any type of monitor may be used. For maximum effect of the game, it is preferred to have a type of game in which the figure portrayed on the monitor and controlled by the foot-operated controller represents a surfer. The surfing figure is then moved through various obstacles, such as slalom gates or large waves, to score points. Wipeouts in the waves, or collisions with other objects or other surfers, cause scoring detriments to the player.
The controller of the invention and the game of the invention are used in a conventional manner. When the electrical components of the game have been actuated, whether by insertion of a coin into a coin-receiving unit or simply by turning the unit on, the user mounts the surfing simulator and shifts his weight forwardly and rearwardly, and from side to side, thereby tilting the board against the suspension system and away from the horizontal attitude. As the board tilts, the ball switch 5 mechanism within the sensor module enclosure 10 attached to the central bottom point of the surfboard 1 and centrally located within the semi rigid fulcrum pillar 3, is actuated by the movement of the ball switches contained in metal cans or cylinder, which opens and closes switches corresponding to the tilt angle of the board. Accordingly, movements of the board are displayed by corresponding movements of the figure on the screen, enabling the game player to control the surfing figure around obstacles and up and down waves as they appear on the screen. The controller may of course be used to control any game which is playable by a joystick, and affords the player a novel method of controlling the game as well as providing good exercise and improvement of balance control. Accordingly, the game controller of the invention has a multiple purpose.
Accordingly, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that a number of modifications and adaptations may be made to elements of the invention, several specific embodiments of which have been disclosed herein. These adaptations and modifications may be made within the spirit and scope of the invention; accordingly, the invention should not be limited with respect to the disclosures set forth above, but rather should be measured only by the following claims.
Since other modifications and changes varied to fit particular operating requirements and environments will be apparent to those skilled in the art, the invention is not considered limited to the example chosen for purposes of disclosure, and covers all changes and modifications which do not constitute departures from the true spirit and scope of this invention.
Having thus described the invention, what is desired to be protected by Letters Patent is presented in the subsequently appended claims.
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|Cooperative Classification||A63B2220/801, A63B2220/833, A63F2300/8041, A63B2220/16, A63B2071/0641, A63B2220/807, A63B2071/0638, A63B2220/80, A63B2220/806, A63F13/06, A63F2300/1062, A63B69/0093, A63B24/0087, A63B24/0003, A63B2024/0096|
|European Classification||A63B69/00U, A63F13/06, A63B24/00A, A63B24/00R|